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May 20, 2023 Weekly Newsletter

As we shift gears from the season into the sunny days of summer, you might notice things tend to quiet down a bit around Indian River County. But don't let that fool you; there's always something happening, following our almost-regular tradition of shenanigans while many are up north or away on vacation. That's precisely why we continue to send out these email updates.

Our commitment to our mission of identifying, studying, educating, and advocating for economic and environmental issues for the benefit of Indian River County is a year-round endeavor. We deeply value and rely on your ongoing support. So, when you're planning your future charitable donations, please keep the Indian River Neighborhood Association in mind.

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News Impacting Indian River County

Incongruity of Hilton near Sebastian fishing village clear; past leaders partly to blame (TCPalm) - The IRNA and other environmental are groups keeping an eye on this development. We have talked to county staff about it and it is early in the process still. From our conversations with staff we learned that the county has reviewed several potential hotels at this site in the past, going back to 2006, but none ever went forward. We will not assume past actions equal future success, and we are certainly watching it. If you would like to sign the petition opposing this development, you may do so here.

Letter to the editor, Stop fertilizing lawns as of June 1 to help Indian River Lagoon (TCPalm) - A reminder to stop fertilizing lawns as of June 1 to prevent nutrient runoff into the Indian River Lagoon, as excess nutrients contribute to harmful algal blooms and water pollution by our own Jean Catchpole who serves on the Water & Lagoon Committee of the Indian River Neighborhood Association.

Eight derelict boats to be removed from Indian River Lagoon (source: Hometown News) - Indian River County is partnering with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove eight derelict vessels from the Indian River Lagoon, which pose safety hazards, encourage illegal activities, and damage the lagoon's ecosystem, with taxpayers often bearing the cost of removal. The Clean Water Coalition has been raising awareness of this issue for several years and deserves some credit for these actions. The process is far more complicated than towing away an abandoned car on the side of the road but it must be done.

Neglected vessels scattered around on the Indian River Lagoon (Slideshow) (TCPalm) - This is a photo gallery of many of the derelict vessels all up and down the treasure coast.


Sea turtle nesting season has begun and is in full swing! In the last few days surrounding survey teams have begun spotting green nests. That means It’s only a number of days before they join our party! (Source: Coastal Connections' Facebook Page.)


Work starts (3 years late) on bridge at south end of island (VeroNews) - Construction has begun on a $111.5 million Bridge Replacement Project at the southern end of a barrier island in Fort Pierce, Florida, expected to be completed in 2027, which, after nearly three years of delays and $50 million in cost overruns, will replace a 1963 drawbridge with a new high-rise bridge, enhancing access for residents and accommodating over 10,940 vehicles per day.

North Florida, South Florida vie to be most-polluted region (Florida Specifier) - The pollution and environmental challenges in both North and South Florida are addressed in an article highlighting the negative impact of nutrient-laden water releases from agricultural operations and the need for comprehensive pollution control measures to protect the state's water resources.

Florida law permits the poisoning of our waters (The Invading Sea) - The current state of environmental laws in Florida has failed to effectively protect and restore the quality of the state's waters, with pollution and deterioration continuing unabated. The proposed Right to Clean and Healthy Waters Amendment would establish a fundamental right to clean and healthy waters and allow challenges for failure to establish legislation to protect and restore our water and especially to monitor and enforce these laws and standards.

SFWMD plans to expand water storage and treatment north of lake (South Central Florida Life) - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has announced plans to expand water storage and treatment north of Lake Okeechobee, aiming to increase storage capacity and phosphorus reduction in the area, with construction expected to begin in the next year.


The Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), is a legislative agency responsible for transportation planning in the urbanized area of Indian River County. The MPO consists of twelve voting members representing the local governments within the County. They send out the MPOverview every month with a lot of good information in it. Check out May's edition here and see what's coming!


Is it legal to collect rainwater in Florida? (WFLA News) - Rainwater collection is legal in Florida, as the state does not have any specific restrictions on it. In some places, it is even encouraged with incentives and rebates provided by cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe in New Mexico, although it is important to ensure water safety and take precautions to prevent mosquito breeding in collected rainwater storage containers.

Vero to seek developer interest for affordable housing project near Crestlawn Cemetery (TCPalm) - The city of Vero Beach, Florida, aims to develop affordable housing on a vacant 13-acre property near Crestlawn Cemetery, with the City Council moving forward to gauge developer interest and navigate the new state Live Local Act, which affects the approval process for affordable housing projects, but the specific plan and timeline for the project remain uncertain.

Indian River Shores loses appeal in lawsuit against Vero Beach over reclaimed-water rates (TCPalm) - The Fourth District Court of Appeal has upheld a lower-court ruling stating that Vero Beach's rates for reclaimed water do not need to match the county's, denying Indian River Shores' claim that Vero Beach violated a utility franchise agreement by charging higher rates for reclaimed water.

Florida fishing: Snook season winding down into last two weeks of harvest season (TCPalm) - The snook harvest season in Florida is nearing its end, with only two weeks left to catch and harvest snook, while other notable fishing activities include successful grouper season and the presence of tarpon, jacks, and permit near the beach, according to reports from different areas along the Treasure Coast.

Brightline tickets from Orlando to West Palm Beach on sale. What's next for Treasure Coast? (TCPalm) - Brightline has put tickets on sale for its service between Miami and Orlando, with plans to launch on September 1, running 16 roundtrips daily and reaching speeds of up to 110 mph through the Treasure Coast, although there is currently no Brightline stop on the Treasure Coast, as the company has committed to building a station in the region at a later date.


The people have the inherent political power pursuant to Article I, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution to create the fundamental right to clean and healthy waters. The passage of the amendment will declare this a fundamental right, which is indefeasible.


This video was referenced in this week's Lemmon Lines by Russ Lemmon. This video has ground and drone footage of most of the updated crossings in Vero Beach. It's an interesting perspective to see them all at once from the comfort of your own device.


Other News

Biden plan would open leases to conservation, not just drilling and grazing (AP News) - The Biden administration's proposal to allow conservation leases for federally owned land is facing pushback from Republicans and ranchers who argue that it could be used as a way to exclude mining, energy development, and agriculture from public land use, while administration officials maintain that it aims to balance conservation with other activities without excluding them.

UCF is Designing Self-repairing Oyster Reefs to Protect Florida’s Coastlines (UCF News) - UCF is collaborating with an international team of scientists to develop self-repairing oyster-based reef structures that will mitigate coastal flooding, erosion, and storm damage in the U.S., with the goal of creating a healthy ecosystem and protecting civilian and Department of Defense infrastructure and personnel.

Buying out threatened oceanfront homes is not a crazy idea (Coastal News Today) - The high erosion rates and risks posed to oceanfront homes in Rodanthe, North Carolina, have prompted a study that suggests implementing a buyout plan for highly exposed properties as a long-term solution to erosion, providing a continuous beach over many years and eliminating hazards associated with collapsing homes. The analysis estimates that it would cost nearly $43 million to buy out selected properties, potentially ensuring a viable beach for 15-25 years and offering an alternative to beach nourishment projects with higher costs and potential future episodes of erosion.


The Fun at the End of the Email

This is how it feels sometimes.... Speak up and take action!

Graphic by Adam Tritt


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